In this terrible economy, lots of recent (and future) graduates are considering going solo as way to practice law. I have been fortunate to work among a number of successful solo practitioners, and there are some hallmarks of success.

Willingness to do anything. Most of the solos I know are just getting off the ground, and most of them do not turn down work. They might want to do consumer law, but they will draft a will, or represent someone in a minor criminal case. Doing what you love is important, but so is paying rent.

Find a support system. Whether you office share with other solos or contribute to an email list of solo attorneys, find some way to bounce ideas off other attorneys. Truth be told, most of the time your gut is right, but it takes some time to believe it. Becoming part of a community will also create referral opportunities to keep you on your feet.

Patience. It is unlikely a $100,000 product liability case will fall into your lap during your first month practicing. For most solos it takes at least 6 months before business is coming in regularly. Staying focused and dedicate with no clients is tough, but persistence is key.

(photo: Todo-Juanjo)